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Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia

Print version ISSN 0873-2159


SA, João Moura e et al. Tracheobronchial foreign bodies in adults Experience of the Bronchology Unit of Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia. Rev Port Pneumol [online]. 2006, vol.12, n.1, pp.31-43. ISSN 0873-2159.

Introduction: Foreign body aspiration (FBA) is frequent in children but uncommon in adults it's and often remains hidden for long periods of time. A high index of suspicion is essential for the correct diagnosis of this condition. Early extraction of FB avoids sequelae and complications. Methods: Retrospective study of FBA cases in adults that occurred in a 20 year period (1985-2005). The authors reviewed of the clinical records of all patients admitted with the diagnosis of foreign body in the airway in that time period. Results: In that period of time 77 FB were extracted. Male:female ratio was 68:32%, mean age was 51.4 years and mean delay between FB aspiration and removal 401 days (min:3h, max:21years). Most common clinical presentations: acute asphyxia in 28%, persistent cough 22%. Nature of FB: bone fragments 33%, vegetable matter 31%. The majority of FBs (61%) was lodged in the right bronchial tree; 26% were radiopaque. Rigid bronchoscopy was performed in 75 cases and fiberoptic bronchoscopy in only two. Two patients needed two bronchoscopies for FB removal. There were no complications, need for surgery or relevant sequelae. Conclusions: FBA may happen at any age. In adults the clinical presentation is variable and the FBA episode is often missed, delaying the diagnosis. Rigid bronchoscopy proved to be an efficient and safe procedure. FBA must be a diagnostic hypothesis when studying an adult with long standing respiratory complaints.

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